Having watched his father Jeff ride all his life, Zac Lloyd was well aware the riding caper is a tough business and by the close of his first day in the saddle on Friday, he had first-hand experience of his own.
Lloyd, 17, made the perfect start to his riding career when he landed the $1.30 favourite Satine a winner for his masters Toby and Trent Edmonds at Dalby in his very first ride in a race.
It was the first step in following the feats of his father, who rode successfully all around the world before rewriting the record books – after coming back from a stroke – in his final few years riding in Queensland before retiring in 2019.
“It’s just amazing. It’s been such a long time coming. I can’t thank Mr Edmonds and Trent enough for the ride they gave me today,” he told SKY Racing.
“Once she jumped and put herself there I knew she would be very hard to beat.”
As older brother Jaden, 18, went on to ride a winning double in what was his first Queensland wins after starting his career in Victoria, it seemed it was going to be a perfect day for the Lloyd family, with Jeff, Mum Nicola and sister Tayah all on course to mark the occasion.
But that changed when Zac ended up on his backside when he came off hot favourite Palicki, who jumped awkwardly, soon after the start in the last race on the card.
Fortunately, he escaped injury.
For Mum Nicola, the range of emotions she endured yesterday don’t come more extreme.
She understands the pressure on the boys given the record-breaking feats of their father and also feels an element of trepidation before every race, knowing the risks jockeys take each time they go to the barriers.
“My nerves are shot,” she said.
“I’ve aged 30 years. None of us will forget the day, that’s for sure.”
Nicola has watched Jaden ride since August last year and of course saw Jeff go to the races for decades, but the fears never go away.
“I’ve got better watching Jaden now, but trying to watch two people in a race, I was holding my breath,” she said.
“Of course I am proud (to see the boys ride three of the seven winners).
“It’s a lot of pressure for a 4kg apprentice to go to the races with your first ride (expected to win). People think it’s just a sit and steer, but it’s not that simple.”